Barrett Barrera Projects, a multidisciplinary consulting company representing artists working outside traditional media, is pleased to bring CHARLIEWOOD, a spectacular staging of the Paris-based artist’s fantastical creations and imagery, to U.S. audiences this fall.
Charlie Le Mindu pioneered the fusion of coiffure and couture using hair as thread for his seamless creations. Defying categorization, le Mindu is partly hairstylist, milliner, couturier, artisan, and sculptor. ”I describe myself as a gypsy because I’m not attached to any world: I prefer creating my own,” says the artist. ”For this show, I was inspired by my childhood. I’ve always loved roller coasters and theme parks, and I wanted to recreate this fairground atmosphere with a revue of interlinked themes. I was inspired by Dolly Parton and her Dollywood theme park. I wanted my very own CHARLIEWOOD!”
CHARLIEWOOD is a revue set at the crossroads of fashion, performance art and installation, and has been composed by le Mindu into a multidisciplinary creation mingling music, dance and video, arranged around the vertiginous possibilities of metamorphosing the human body. Originally produced for the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, Charlie le Mindu’s CHARLIEWOOD invites audiences into an ever-shifting environment influenced by the subcultures of European nightlife and drag performance. Always an irreverent creator, le Mindu’s artistic practice draws from subjects as varied as ancient mythology, fantastical bestiaries, and medieval headdresses. In CHARLIEWOOD the artist incorporates the imagery and paradigms of these subcultures and movements to create an immersive surreality that engages the viewer as both subject and object in a world of le Mindu’s own making. References to Surrealism, primitive art, anatomical metonymy and ethereal physical expression draw upon the clever reveries and penetrating psychology of the artist’s transgressive imagination.
According to Barrett Barrera Projects President and Founder Susan Barrett, “Charlie le Mindu is one of the most electrifying artists working today. He invites us to rethink the boundaries of art by experimenting with nontraditional media and demonstrating the limits, but really the possibilities, of human hair as a material of creation and imagination. CHARLIEWOOD is a performance composition that exists in the liminal spaces between reality and fantasy. It is a fever dream of visual design, movement, lights and sound.”
A private invitation-only viewing of CHARLIEWOOD will be held at Cedar Lake in New York on Monday, November 28, 2016. The evening is hosted by Debbie Harry & Ladyfag and will include a special performance by CHRISTEENE. Audiences will enter the performance through a mouth-like entrance – an allusion to the hell-mouth entrance of the iconic facade of Cabaret de L’Enfer; located in Paris’ red light district, from the 19th century until the 1950s.
The opening scene of CHARLIEWOOD casts fragmented body parts – organs formed by human bodies such as a nose, ear, lips, and mustache, slowly dismantling and denoting a kind of disarrangement of the senses. Le Mindu’s otherworldly, profoundly uncanny anthropomorphic creatures engage in acts of excess, seductively moving with Orion Bouvier’s electronic beats.
The artist manages to visually puzzle the audience by demonstrating his rich visual imagination, amplifying the models’ femininity and distorting their figures clad in transparent veils, prosthetic masks, elaborate headpieces or illuminated plexiglass limbs. Covering the performers’ bodies with either silver glitter body paint or body suits made of hair extensions, they are transfigured, escaping human appearance. Each scene is further accentuated by Olivier Simola’s stunning video projections, which complement and heighten the effect of the live performance. More than just wearable art, le Mindu’s sculptural and performance work is capable of transforming and extending the human body, and the spaces in which such bodies exist.
Charlie le Mindu’s sculptures and performance compositions have been exhibited in numerous institutions including the Foundation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Palais de Tokyo and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Additional projects, including art direction of the storefront windows at Galeries Lafayette Paris and Bordeaux, reflect the regard of both the fashion and art worlds inherent in his dramatic, offbeat design aesthetic.
Barrett Barrera Projects, Charlie le Mindu’s U.S. representation agency, is very pleased to host the U.S. premiere of CHARLIEWOOD and introduce Paris-based le Mindu to audiences as an innovator defying boundaries between the fashion, performance and art worlds.
This event is made possible thanks to the generous support of Bumble and Bumble, Hairdreams, and M.A.C. Cosmetics.
Photography KELLY TAUB